France extends plans to re-establish rail freight

France rail freight renovation plans 2016

France will extend a plan to renovate local rail lines used for freight amidst losing share to road haulage.

The French government are to invest a total of 150 million euros in modernizing lines that connect with strategically important road links and ports.

A continued 10m euros annually through 2020 to modernize lines that connect with wider roads, with 20 million budgeted to help companies renew equipment.

Transport Minister Alain Vidalies also announced the state would spend 90 million euros to an SNCF subsidiary to compensate for extra charges it paid to use infrastructure, on top of a 10 million-euro investment to connect ports to train lines.

The announcement comes two days after the French train manufacturer, Alstom, cancelled its plan to downsize a plant in Belfort. Alstom had announced it would halt production and engineering due to a drop in orders, along with a transfer of 400 of the 480 jobs to another site at Reichsoffen in a move to downsize.

The French government, which owns a 20% stake in Alstom, placed an order for 21 TGV Euroduplex and 20 shunting locomotives in addition to its confirmation of the order for 30 Intercity trains to keep the factory running.

Rail freight has been losing share partly due to the state of the network, the minister said at a press conference on Thursday, and would lend support to companies investing in quieter trains.